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Laurie Niles

December 31, 2003 at 5:17 PM

Ever feel like you were just a band geek who never joined the band, because they wouldn't take a violinist, or violist or cellist?

Well, civilization is moving forward tomorrow during the 2004 Rose Parade -- there's going to be a marching orchestra!

I had a sneak peek at them last night when my quartet played for the Tournament of Roses Directors' Banquet at the Ritz in Pasadena. Following our dinner background music was the band from Odessa, Texas. They marched into the banquet hall with violins, violas, even cellos!

The cellos were most remarkable, they seemed to be suspended in air by magic. My other quartet members and I had to look closely to see that something was holding the cellos up by the neck. It still mystifies me.

When they marched (or rather, strolled) in they dispersed around the room, playing a simple tune, which I can't remember (my brain was fried after playing for about two hours!). Then they played (I think!) "America the Beautiful." I do remember that they played together (no small feat, in that situation) and in tune. Nice job!

Tomorrow they have to march five and a half miles down Colorado Boulevard -- a very long route, even with, say, a piccolo. So watch your television for the marching string band!

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